The Summer of June by Jamie Sumner

Hello, Jamie Sumner! Thank you for stopping by to share The Summer of June’s cover illustration. I can smell the flowers and feel the warmth of the sun. Please tell us about the moment Elysia Case captures on the cover.

Jamie Sumner: Hi John! Thank you for letting me share this beautiful cover. This is my fourth middle grade novel, but the first one that made me tear up when I saw it. Elysia Case perfectly captures June, who has anxiety, in a moment of peaceful magic. I love how June cradles the pot of lavender while the dragonflies zoom through the black-eyed Susans. She is present. She is happy. She is feeling the earth under her feet and the sun on her face. We all deserve those moments of quiet acceptance of who we are and the space we take up in the world.

Scenario: A bookseller at Parnassus asks you to fill out a shelftalker about The Summer of June.

Jamie Sumner: June Delancey has anxiety. She worries about the future, the past, the in between. So during the summer before her sixth grade year, she makes herself two promises:

She will beat her anxiety to become the lion she knows she is, instead of the mouse everyone sees.

And she and her single mom will own their power as fierce, independent females

But this book isn’t about “beating” anxiety. It’s about June’s journey to work with rather than fight against herself. It’s full of the magic of the public library and the healing power of nature and the beauty of a new friends and being brave enough to be yourself.

Please finish the following sentence starters:

June Delancey has a favorite shelf at the library that isn’t a shelf at all. It’s the recent returns cart! She says, “Unlike all the other shelves in the library that are already sorted, this one has no order. It’s the place you go when you don’t know what you want. For me, that’s almost always. These are the books that are so newly brought back, they haven’t been sorted yet. You can find a Rachael Ray cookbook leaning against a John Grisham paperback that’s propping up six Llama Llama books. Sometimes there is an atlas of ancient Greece or a leather-bound encyclopedia covering letters X, Y, Z, and it makes me want to meet the person who skipped Google and chose that instead.”

Summer is for firecracker popsicles that turn your tongue red, white, and blue and where I discovered all my favorite books while reading in tree branches and next to swimming pools.

John Schu, you should have asked me why I cried over this cover in particular—June is closest to my heart because I have anxiety too and I thought for most of my life that meant something was very, very wrong with me. But it’s not true! Some of the most creative people who are make the best art and most innovative inventions are anxious people. The same brain that creates worry can also create amazing goodness to put out in the world. I hope anyone else who has ever been called “too sensitive” will see a bit of themselves in June and not be ashamed of how they were made. We all deserve to be seen, to find our people, and to be free to be our honest selves.

Thank you, Jamie Sumner!

Look for The Summer of June on May 31, 2022. 

Twelve-year-old June Delancey is kicking summer off with a bang. She shaves her head and sets two goals: she will beat her anxiety and be the lion she knows she can be, instead of the mouse everyone sees. And she and her single mama will own their power as fierce, independent females.

With the help of Homer Juarez, the poetry-citing soccer star who believes in June even when she doesn’t believe in herself, she starts a secret library garden and hatches a plan to make her dreams come true. But when her anxiety becomes too much, everything begins to fall apart. It’s going to take more than a haircut and some flowers to set things right. It’s going to take courage and friends and watermelon pie. Forget second chances. This is the summer of new beginnings.


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